Friday, July 10, 2015

Dos and Don'ts of Packing a Shoebox

There are many things I have learned the hard way in packing shoeboxes and many other ways that I have listened and learned from others. No pictures today but I hope you will take the time to read all my dos and don'ts to make better shoeboxes.

For years, I insisted on putting liquid or school glue in my shoeboxes. As a retired elementary, I hated glue sticks but really liked the Elmer's glue. I was told not to pack Elmer's but I wasn't told way not for many years. When I finally had the change to volunteer at the Processing Center in Dallas/Fort Worth, I learned why I should not pack the Elmer's. The is liquid and if the bottle gets a hole in it or leaks in any way, it can ruin the entire shoebox. Everything that is in the box can be soaked in glue and not be good for any one! So, let's start with the don'ts since I was so hard headed. lol

1. Don't pack any liquids. No glue, shampoo, hand sanitizer or anything else in liquid form. Not only
can it leak and ruin the whole shoebox, it is possible that it can ruin an entire carton of shoeboxes!
2. No food items or any items that have the word snack on the package. Many customs agents in countries will not allow those so don't put them in.
3. No chocolate. As much as we love it, it can melt and make a big mess in the shoebox. Also, it is considered a luxury in some countries and OCC can be charged a luxury tax on the entire shipment if they find even one piece of chocolate. Yikes! More than $7 for that shoebox!
4. No Camo any thing. Terrorist groups are using all colors of camo items to identify themselves. We don't want the children to accidentally be subjected to any of that.
5. No war toys, no guns, no plastic army men. In some countries, the children have been terrified by local armies and will be frightened by army type of toys.
 I think you should also be careful with our super hero toys also. Many of them look like war or fighting types of items.
6. Don't wait until October or November to start buying items for your shoeboxes. You can find good deals all year round. Plus, it doesn't seem as bad when you buy a little through out the year.


1. Do look for expiration dates. Did you know that toothpaste has an expiration date? I didn't until a few years ago. Look at the crimped end of the toothpaste tube to find the expiration date. Plan on it being at least 6 months out from when you turn in your shoebox. Eleven million boxes can not all be delivered by Christmas time. A few years ago, a customs agent found a tube of toothpaste that was expired. He held up the entire shipment for 6 months before he let it go through with that tube.
2. Do put soap in zip lock bags. I always wrap my bar of soap in a wash cloth. Then I put that in a zip lock and close it. I put that in another zip lock so it is double bagged and seal that. The reason is because soap smells.  A bar of soap just laying in a box for a few weeks will make the entire box and everything in it smell like soap. The candy will taste like soap!
3. Do put any candy in a zip lock bag. This will protect it from smells. Some candy sweats and gets sticky. In a zip lock, it won't get every thing it touches sticky.
4. Do go shopping after holidays. Most candy has several years before it expires (check the dates, though) I usually buy up lots of suckers and tootsie pops after Valentine's Day. They are on sale then for 50% off. I buy assorted candies the day after Halloween. Again, they are on sale at 50% off. You can also find stuffed animals, pencils, and other items on sale after holidays. The day after is usually 50% off. If you wait a few days, whatever is left with be 70-80% or more off. But the longer you wait, the fewer things are available.
5. Be watching in stores, like Wal-Mart, Target, grocery stores, etc for sale items. Also, check the clearance aisles often. You never know what you might find. I found school scissors at 2 for a quarter in April because the store had a new manager and wanted to get rid of things that the previous manager had stored. Also, check out the Target Dollar Spot shelves often. You can find lots of good things for a dollar. Sometimes, you can find them cheaper. Last week, my Target had red dot items at 70% off on the Dollar Spot shelves. I got bunch of art sets for 30 cents each! And yes, I bought them all.
6. If you are or if you know a crafter or a sewer, make things. My sister makes rag dolls. I gave her money for fabric and asked her to make a bunch for me. You can check Pinterest for all sorts of ideas on things to make. Clothes pin airplanes, girls skirts, felt dolls, finger puppets, sewing kits, and fleece scarves can all be found on Pinterest. They are great in shoeboxes and cost next to nothing. I buy fabric remnants to make girls skirts. I can make them for 50 cents or less each.

Next week, I plan to put an article on how to pack multiple boxes without breaking the bank.

No comments:

Post a Comment